Lent meal ideas- even if you’re not religious

If you are Christian and celebrate Lent, you know that you’re supposed to give up something– usually it’s junk food or soft drinks or alcohol or shopping or some bad habit- for the 40 days (not counting Sundays!) before Easter. Even if you’re not Christian, it’s a good way to reset yourself into being a little more healthy and it’s a good time of year to do it because it’s still wintery in most places and there’s not much going on to get you off track. You’re also supposed to refrain from eating meat on Fridays (fish and even alligator are allowed, tho, whaaaaat? I don’t like fish or alligator anyway, so I just do vegetarian on Fridays). You’re supposed to try to be more mindful during Lent, and to lay off the snacks, not eat elaborate meals, and allow yourself to be a little hungry. This slight hunger helps you be more mindful and also gets you to relate to the plight of others less fortunate.  Lent is also about alms-giving, so you could donate the money you might save by eating more simply to groups who care for the poor, if you want. It’s also a good time to really get into meatless meals. A lot of people think about going vegetarian, at least some of the time,  but have a hard time really doing it. So, why not try it now?

Here are some things I’ve made so far. I’ll post my versions of them coming up here. If they call for beef or chicken stock, I just sub water if I’m going completely vegetarian. I usually serve these with a simple green salad.

Lentil Soup with Lemon Yogurt Cream

Spinach, Tomatoes, and Chick Peas over Polenta (scroll all the way down the page)

Mushroom and Leek Risotto

Three Bean Chili

And here are some of the things I plan to make soon.

Flatbreads with Goat Cheese, Caramalized Onions, and Basil

Baked Polenta with Mushrooms

Rotini with Beans and Escarole

Mushroom and Barley Soup

 

Do you participate in Lent? What do you like to make?

 

 

 

Home improvement and home cookin’

Mike has been posting about all the home improvement projects he’s been up to, but he’s left a few of them out.

I had my Weber gas grill shipped from LA and it arrived in about a million little pieces.

Weber Gas Grill

Weber Gas Grill

In about a million pieces (really like 100 but still!)

In about a million pieces (really like 100 but still!)

It only took a couple hours and he had it all back together!

Weber gas grill- easy to assemble!

Weber gas grill- easy to assemble!

All done!

Weber Gas Grill

Weber Gas Grill

Meanwhile, I had a Woodchuck pear cider. Continue reading

Taco Spot Eagle Rock, Palate Glendale, Cornish Pasty Phoenix

All three of my computers broke recently. The netbook got a new harddrive so I lost all that data, the sony laptop is still dead- I think there are pics on it. The desktop was recovered but there weren’t that many pictures on it. Anyhow I was waiting to see how many pictures I could find of my trip to L.A. and of the first part of this month and I found as many as I could!

Lunch with Eddie at The Taco Spot in Eagle Rock. I had a chicken bowl.

And Eddie had a bean burrito

One night DM sent me this picture. Evidently he made a late night trip to Waffle House.

I went to a neat newish restaurant in Glendale called Palate

It’s in the old Bekins moving and storage building and is all warehousey.

They have those stainless steel restaurant tables, which i love.

They have a special room where the cheese is prepared.

This is my brother’s friend Sage in front of the cheese area. The lady in back with the scarf is prepering the cheese plates.

Sage and Stephen.

My new tenant Angie and my brother Chris.

Me in goth surroundings. I love the decor here!

The dinner menu is very very strange and exotic. We started out with a wine and cheese flight. I had to leave early so I didn’t have dinner and I didn’t really catch the name of the wine or the cheeses we had! But they were really good. I don’t usually like white wine but this was excellent.

Then DM sent me another picture. No, he isn’t in Russia, he’s in Wal-mart.

Christmas Eve we had a cocktail party at my brother’s house, apparently while drinking wine and dancing.

Chris and Stephen.

The table of appetizers. I think there were about 25 people there.

I made the barefoot contessa’s spided rosemary cashews, but I used almonds and walnuts too.

A yummy salami plate brought by my brother David. The cheese in that green bowl was a marscapone stuffed mozerella ball from Whole Foods. it was super delish.

My brother David with his salami (heh).

Blue Cheese dip from  Saveur Magazine.

Marinated goodies.

Merry Christmas PJ!

The cats can’t get enough of The Dange.

PJ is obsessed with drinking water, even off the floor of the shower.

My brother Brian, Stephen, Leeza my brother’s girlfriend, and my dad.

Christmas breakfast table.

I made a spinach quiche from Paula Deen

Crumbled bacon, green onions, and sour cream for the top.

The day after Christmas we left to go back to CO. First stop was Phoenix where we had dinner at the Cornish Pasty (Company? Place?) in Mesa.  I’s a pretty neat place and comes with rave reviews.

They had several different hard ciders which gets extra points from me.

We also had pastys. I had the shephard’s pie pasty. Only it wasn’t a SHEPHARD’S- it was the one with the ground beef, not the lamb.

Dessert was this awesome banan cream pie things. OMG.

The next day we headed into New Mexico. I had been reading and hearing all about stuffed soppapilas the entire trip and I wanted on. We stopped in Gallup thinking we could find one. But it was Sunday and everything was closed. We were too hungry to try to make it all the way to Albuquerque so we stopped at Furr’s. I had never been to a Furr’s before. I guess it’s a cafeteris. But on Sundays it’s all you can eat. We were tired, cranky, and starving so this is what we wound up with. It was for sure an “eyes bigger than stomach” situation. We only finished about 1/3rd of this stuff.

A small town in New Mexico not far from the Colorado border.

I was pretty worried about PJ toward the end of the trip. He was very unhappy at my parent;s house (we stayed there the last two weeks of the trip because my house was being worked on). He was confined to an upstairs suite but of course, wanted free run of the house. We couldn’t do that for a variety of reason. But he just meowed non stop for like the last three days we were there. Once we got into the car and the hotels and stuff he calmed down, He was really super mellow the whole car trip and I thought maybe he was just not feeling well. He also had a little bit of a cold. When we got back I took him to the vet, he got some meds and is feeling a lot better now. Here’s his comfy bed in the car. We had SO much stuff this time that the back was fiulled with boxes. We put blankets and towels on top of the boxes which I think the cats liked better. They could see otu the windows this way instead of being below them.

Back in COS. The view of Pikes Peak from our street.

New Years Eve we had DMs mom and step dad over for Christmas gift exchange. we had planned to hit some of the downtown bars after they left but I developed a screaming migraine so we went to bed at midnight after watching the fireworks shot off of Pikes Peak.
I made a fruity rum cocktail.

And pretty much the same apps as Christmas Eve. Blue cheese dip,

Spiced nuts. And a new one, a a curry chick pea dip.

DM’s mom and step dad.

They gave me this cute tea set for Christmas.

Our fireplace. Cozy!

This was some sort of baked pasta I made later in the week.

Some pretty roses.

I’m telling you, my cats can’t get enough of DM. he’s a regular cat whisperer.

Breakfast of oatmeal, fruit, nuts, and brown sugar.

The little console thing on the left was my brother’s. I had it shipped here with the rest of my stuff. The lamps, rug, and pillows are all from my place in LA. It’s pretty cool how everything seems to coordinate.

We made PJ a little perch out of a neat old typewriter table that I brought with me. I have no idea where it initially came from.

I recently read on a food blog that you can make foamed milk by putting milk into a jar, shaking it up, then microwaving it. It totally works! Not as well as with the real milk steamer but fine for everyday.

I think this was chicken nachos.

There are two new spice stores downtown here. TWO. MMMHMMMM. Anyhow we went to one of them the other day., They let you smell and taste the spices and they had freeze dried corn! It was funny. Pretty tasty but the texture of air!

Scrambled eggs with salsa and homemade biscuits and gravy.

Kitties!

Kitties again!

Pikes Peak from one block north. I love that big old house on the left.

DM in front of a church nearby. It was really cold but we wanted to get out and go for a walk

That’s all! Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up on this better. And hopefully I won’t have anymore computer problems.

Wine and Cheese

Ok so I’ve been getting Food And Wine Magazine for like ever. I sometimes use the recipes but mainly I just like reading the articles. I never use the wine info. Like really never. So never that I kinda forgot it was even called Food And WINE. But the other day I was looking thru one of them and there was an article on the best wines of the year or something so I read it and cut out the info on the ones that looked good (and cheap hee hee). We have a really great liquor store near here so I went over there the other day and got one of the bottles that was recommended in the magazine. OMG it was awesome. It’s Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel and it was only 11 bucks!

Anyhow, so also Whole Foods out here does this new thing in their cheese department where they take the leftoevers of what they sample or something, not sure exactly what, and rewrap them into small pieces and put them in a basket labeled “try a new cheese for under $3.00”. I grabbed a few of them for our road trip the other day and we had them in the car. It was a great idea! We discovered two that we really liked and will be getting again. Saturday I bought 4 more and we had them with the yummy wine while playing cards the other night. There were a couple of good ones- really they were all good- and they were super good with the good wine. But nothing we’ll need to seek out again, I don’t think.

Tonight I’m making chili while DM watches hockey on TV. Go Ducks (hee hee). I love hockey guys hair- I mean, not mullets, duh, but when their hair (mullet) gets all sweaty on the back of their neck and sticks out from under their helmet. Hee hee. Ok so anyhow I started by making a recipe from The Joy Of Cooking. But it seemed sorta just eh so I searched online for “chili secret ingredients” and added all the things people said they used. LOL. Yea, it was a lot of different things BUT anyhow, so far it’s really good! It has to cook at least another hour so hopefully it will just get better.

Also, last night we went to a super divey bar in a dicey neighborhood and met some random people and played pool and sang karaoke. It was fun! Even tho I suck at pool and singing. Hee hee. The bar had been there since 1935 and was pretty much in original condition. Plus is had a super cool sign. You know I love that shit.